Long way home

The way back from an enjoyable trip often becomes kind of a troublesome issue. There is usually some rush and stress involved. Do we have to already think about what is going to happen upon return. Are things such as cleaning up the house, our work or other duties really that important at the moment? Not necessarily. There will come the time to worry about these. Now it is time to enjoy the remaining part of holiday.
When planning a trip, especially a longer one, it is always worth to allow extra few days to finish it with an interesting style.
For example, the road from Slovenia to Polish can be reached in one day’s driving stopping only at petrol stations just to refuel, pee and eat a hot dog. You can also do it in a stress-free, yet more enjoyable way. When planning a route just stick to less frequent roads, find some places to see on the way and above all, make sure that the road itself is your target.

Towards the end of our Alpine project, we drive around the Triglav National Park in Slovenia. We stop in Kranjska Gora to get one more eyeshot of snow-covered Triglav (2864m, the highest mountain in Slovenia). This time we see it from the northern slopes the Julian Alps. Kranjska Gora is the largest ski resort in Slovenia, so it’s definitely worth coming back here in winter.

We enter Austrian part of the Alps from Carinthia’s side . There are numerous mountain towns to stop and take a look at. We drive through the Katschberg pass and enter Salzburgerland. We spend the night at Hallstatt lake. The lake is beautifully located between the mountains and this place is often referred to as one of the most scenic all over Austria.

In these part of the country they are used to say “Es muss ein Stiegl sein”. Which in free translation means that “You need to have one Stiegl”, a local Austrian beer. We respect the saying more than literally and stock up with a box of beers before saying good-bye to Austria.

I wonder if Czech Republic has a place like Prague, but in a miniaturized way. For people who, just like me, do not need the urban hustle, I have one recommendation. Go to so-called “Little Prague” or more simply, town named Cesky Krumlov. Until now I have never about that city, but as soon as I got there, I instantly knew that was exactly what I had been looking for.

In Austria there were situations when it was not possible to pay with a card in a restaurant. As the waiter politely explained it, “it’s too old restaurant.” In Czech Republic, in turn, sometimes we have been told that it was “too small restaurant.” So I found that easier that searching for a restaurant that is both “big” and “new”, it is simply to use an ATM.

I love Cesky Krumlov not only for one special campground that looks like a supermarket parking lot with some grass area on the side. It is also about the convenient location right on the river, which in summer turns into one massive meeting place for kayakers passing here through the city.
Cesky Krumlov has a very interesting architecture dominated by the thirteenth century castle. It is interesting just to stroll aimlessly along cobblestone streets and admire historic buildings in the Old Town. Nightlife scene is also quite interesting. We get to know it through the eyes of one Californian guy who looks like a Tarzan. In fact he came here on holiday and settled permanently. On that evening our pub-crawl team is growing very fast and at some point there is a considerable amount of Irish guys. The bars slowly begin to close, so we decide to check what’s is happening with our kayaking friends at the campsite and have one more of local specialty beer.

The way back from Cesky Krumlov is not the fastest either. The Czech Republic is a bigger country than one may think. Crossing from south to north is almost like an expedition. Perhaps this is due to using local roads, which are often touring around or are closed. After 12 hours we are still in the Czech Republic, somewhere between hops farm, the abandoned castles and forgotten cobbled “road shortcuts”. During the day the heat is so incredible that even with windows open I feel like my brain is boiling. It makes me think that maybe I should consider installing air-conditioning in the future.

We arrive to Germany. I completely forgot about the existence of something called ‘Autobahn’. Out of habit, we just continue driving using local roads only. One of the last pictures from the Eurotrip shows thousands of birds flying north at sunset.

PS. A few weeks later, it turned out that there is ‘one more’ photo to join the holiday memories gallery. It was sent to me by registered mail and requested payment of €30. For nearly two months I tried really hard not to get a single ticket and here comes the surprise at the very end. Just like a road pirate, speeding 46km per hour in “30” zone, that is, at a speed of 16km/h above the limit I had been tracked in one of the quiet German villages. Luckily it was not happening in Switzerland, where a similar offence would have cost at least 10 times more. Anyway, I hope that will not discourage anyone from using local paths across Europe. You just need to slow down and get off the beaten track!